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Best time to hike the narrows

by mmyerspa Online Now Jan 17, 2010 at 3:01 PM

I'm planning a southern Utah trip that will include a hike in the Narrows. What is the best time of year to do this? I had been thinking about early June, then heard that September might be better (can't remember why...water level, chance of rain, cold water in spring...?).

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to hike the narrows

    by balhannah Online Now Jan 17, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    All I can tell you is that we were there in June, and it was extremely hot, 40+ degrees centigrade!

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  • bocmaxima's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to hike the narrows

    by bocmaxima Online Now Jan 17, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    September would be good. Summer sees random, afternoon rains and enormous crowds.
    Regardless of the season though, you're going to spend some time trudging through the creek when hiking to the Narrows, and it will almost always be fairly cold.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to hike the narrows

    by goodfish Online Now Jan 17, 2010 at 6:12 PM

    I'm guessing fall as spring tends to be rainier in most parts of of the country, and the Virgin probably gets runoff from snowmelt in the mountains in the spring - both of which would raise the water level. We did it in Sept. and it was beautiful - low water levels and warm air temps.

    The river will be cold - we rented canyoneering boots and wet socks at an outfitter in Springdale that made the trek a lot more comfortable. It didn't cost much and we were glad we did it - the river bottom is very rocky and slippery so their stout boots made staying upright easier and kept our own dry for trail hiking the next day! :)

    I'll dig around and see if I can find more info on water level in the spring.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to hike the narrows

    by goodfish Online Now Jan 17, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    This might help!!!
    From:
    utah.com/nationalparks/zion/...

    "Weather: Hiking is not permitted when the river is high from runoff or flash flooding. Runoff mostly occurs in April and early May. Late summer thunderstorms occasionally produce flooding. Check at the visitor center for current conditions. Hiking is usually very pleasant during summer and fall. Few people hike during winter and spring, when the water is cold, but some go in wearing wet or dry suits."

    "Early Spring yields higher water due to snow melt. October and November visitors find less people in the river. Best light for photography is between 10 am and 3 pm"

    Water temp in Sept averages 55-60 degrees.

    So, there ya go. Thing is, June isn't really spring and according to the chart on the website, no different than Sept - other than there'll be more people. You should be fine in June if that's preferable!

    BTW, hiking the Narrows was a 10 on my ratings list of best vacation days - absolutely awesome. My Homepage pix is from there.

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  • Sevsa's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to hike the narrows

    by Sevsa Online Now Jan 19, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    I completely agree with the last posting. Water is too high in spring so they won't let you hike it. I went in September and the weather was great and although still crowded it was nothing like it is in the summer. We also rented the wet socks and water boots from a place in Springdale and they are well worth the price because as stated the rocks in the river are very slippery and often not secure underfoot.
    Great fun and gorgeous scenery.

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  • Sevsa's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to hike the narrows

    by Sevsa Online Now Jan 19, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    I just noticed that you also posted a question about Yellowstone which states that you are not able to hike for long because your husband has bad knees. If this is true then hiking the Narrows won't be very enjoyable for you. You could take the paved trail that ends at the river but to try to go in the river with bad knees would be a problem.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to hike the narrows

    by goodfish Online Now Jan 19, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    Great catch, Erik - I also saw the Yellowstone question but didn't match it up with this poster. Yes, while the river if flat (no hills) you'll be bracing yourself against the current a bit and moving gingerly over the rocky steam bed. Bad knees could give you a hard time.

    Never say never, though - you could try some distance in the river and turn around if the knees are starting to bother you. It is several miles upstream to the most dramatic narrowing of the canyon (Wall Street).

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  • mmyerspa's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to hike the narrows

    by mmyerspa Online Now Feb 5, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    Thanks, Goodfish and Sevsa, for your great input. I'm putting this trip together for a group of women, so hubby won't be along for this one. Since Virgin Narrows and Antelope Canyon are the two highlights of this trip, it's likely I'll move it to September to have a better chance of enjoying the Narrows.

    Thanks again!
    Mary

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to hike the narrows

    by goodfish Online Now May 20, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Along with the insulated socks and canyoneering boots we rented from Zion Adventures in Springdale, we also rented a waterproof pouch for the camera and anything else we didn't want to get wet. It didn't cost much.

    I highly recommend renting the equipment as they'll also give you a safety lesson on hiking the Narrows, and your own footwear stays dry for the next day. Those thermal socks don't keep your feet dry but they keep them from freezing. They outfit lots of people for this particular hike - the NPS ranger at the visitor center recommended them.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to hike the narrows

    by goodfish Online Now May 20, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    FYI - you WILL want to take a camera as photos from the Narrows are amazing. I used one for my main VT homepage pix.

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